Do you consider yourself a saint?
Last week the Catholic Church determined that Mother Teresa was worthy of the title. The world celebrated her life as the Pope ordained her as a Saint, nineteen years after her death.
What about you? Are you worthy of the title?
To be honest, I have a hard time with the designation myself—even though “Saint Frances” has a familiar ring to it. The word implies such a high standard of holiness—it’s hard to embrace it. It makes me squirm a bit.
We prefer other words, like “Christian”. It feels better. We’ve softened its implications enough that it doesn’t make us squirm with accountability. “Christian” has become a word that describes one’s beliefs more than one’s behavior. And we can live with that.
So instead of calling each other saints as the early Christians did, we reserve the description—along with its companion word, ‘holy’—for the religious elite.
But if we are Christians, truly Christians who don’t just believe in Christ but we actually follow him–then we are also saints. Christ was “Immanuel”—“God with us.” That’s who Christians are too. We live out “God with us” right where we are.
Saints are people of God, set apart for the holy work of blessing others with God’s presence.
The millions that gathered around the world to celebrate Mother Teresa’s sainthood tells me that the world needs more saints to celebrate. The world thirsts for people courageous enough to live out “God with us.”
I’d like to see us put holy back into Christianity and start blessing the people around us with a touch of God’s presence. What about you? Would you like to join the ranks of the saints? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be perfect. Saints live in God’s presence, not in perfection.
Here are 4 ways to get started. I hope they help you embrace the life of a saint—because if you’re a Christian, you are one.
- GET TO KNOW GOD BETTER, BECAUSE HE IS HOLY. You don’t need to know more facts about him. You need to know him. Have a relationship with him. The more time you spend with him—as a child spends time with a parent– the more you’ll be like him.
“Be holy, because I am holy.” I Peter 1:15
- BELIEVE THAT JESUS MADE YOU HOLY. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be.” The problem is, too many Christians don’t believe they are holy. We allow Satan, the great accuser, to convince us that we are unworthy, guilty, and always falling short. His accusations, and our own self-doubts, convince us that a holy life is for someone else. But really, Jesus made you holy. Believe it, and you’ll live it.
“…he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith.” Colossians 1:21-22
- LET THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACH YOU HOLINESS. Don’t even try it on your own. The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, leads us into holy living. He loves, so he teaches us to love. He gives peace and joy. He teaches patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. That’s holy living. We just need to follow. Keep in step with the Holy Spirit, not in step with everyone else, and your walk will have the gait of a saint.
“Let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
- FOCUS ON POSITIVE HOLY LIVING. We get hung up on holiness because we focus on the list of forbidden acts we shouldn’t commit. But living holy is more about what you do. Instead of focusing on that forbidden list, fill up your life with positive holy living. You’ll have less room for the stuff that doesn’t belong there—there’s no room for hate where there is love, or for bitterness where there’s forgiveness. Truth eliminates the lies and humility washes away pride. Focus on what Jesus did, not on what he didn’t do. And you’ll live holy too.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14
- LIVE UP TO THE CALLING. Just do it. God calls us to it. He paid a price to make us holy. So let’s live up to the holy calling. Stop finding excuses. Stop believing Satan’s lies that you aren’t worthy. And stop thinking that a holy life is for someone else. Start living holy right where you are. It’s who you are.
“God has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 1:9
Not many of us will ever touch as many lives as Mother Teresa did. She was truly amazing. But all of us can touch someone.
The world needs less “Christians” and more saints.
So let’s put holiness back into Christianity so the world has more saints to celebrate—get to know God, believe he makes you holy, and keep in step with the Holy Spirit who will lead you into positive holy living. Live holy because he calls you to holiness.
Live like a saint, because you are one.
Your friend and fellow saint,